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Rock Apes enjoy their special day in Grantham

By John Lavery

Cheque for Band of Brothers EMN-150519-145143001
Cheque for Band of Brothers EMN-150519-145143001

Around 300 serving and former members of the RAF Regiment descended on Grantham at the weekend for their third annual reunion in the town.

The event was organised by Councillor Dean Ward, who served with the RAF Regiment for nine years up to 1991.

Dean Ward with his letter from the Queen EMN-150519-145043001
Dean Ward with his letter from the Queen EMN-150519-145043001

Dean, who was recently elected to South Kesteven District Council, runs Rumours lounge bar in Market Place, where Sunday’s reunion was held.

Six months ago Dean cheekily wrote to Her Majesty the Queen to invite her to attend the reunion. He was surprised to receive a reply.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it when I received a letter from Buckingham Palace. Naturally the Queen couldn’t attend, but she thanked me for the invitation and wished us well and hoped we had a successful day, which meant a lot.”

The RAF Regiment, nicknamed The Rock Apes, is the ground fighting force of the Royal Air Force.

Rock Apes past and present travelled from all over the world to attend the reunion, with one former Regiment member flying in from Tasmania for the event.

The large gathering filled Rumours to overflowing and Market Place, too, was full of revellers throughout the day.

Dean, who organised the first Regiment reunion in Grantham in 2013, said: “It was epic. What I remember most was the noise of the laughter. There was just such great camaraderie and some were meeting up with friends they hadn’t seen for 40 years.

“Everyone had a wonderful time and it was also good for the local economy, with many of those attending the reunion staying over at B&Bs in the town.”

The event also raised money for charity, with £1,000 being donated to the RAF Regiment Band of Brothers, the reunion’s chosen charity.

A further £280 was raised for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal through a raffle, with Roll and Scroll, steel fabricators in Grantham, donating a garden bench for the raffle prize. The winner was a Mrs Rose of Grantham, with the winning ticket drawn at the Journal offices on Tuesday by content editor Marie Bond.


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